Protesters interrupt Elliott Abrams during Venezuela hearing

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Protesters on Wednesday interrupted a hearing on the situation in Venezuela featuring special representative Elliott Abrams.

Three members of Code Pink, a women-led organization opposed to U.S. wars and militarism, had to be removed from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing.

{mosads}The group’s national co-director Ariel Gold was arrested after telling the committee not to trust Abrams and to pursue diplomacy.

“Don’t listen to Abrams,” she said. “We must not go down a path to war. We need you to push for negotiations, not a U.S.-orchestrated coup. No coup in Venezuela.”

Caroline Debnam was arrested next for interrupting the hearing to say that backing National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó instead of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro would lead to a civil war.

“Setting up a parallel government with Juan Guaido is illegal, irresponsible and sets Venezuela on a path toward civil war,” she said. “Instead of exacerbating the tensions, the US should be supporting with efforts of Mexico, Venezuela and the Vatican to mediate the crisis.”

And Kei Pritsker told the committee to “look at the history of Eliot Abrams throughout Central America and the Middle East, creating wars, chaos and mayhem on behalf of U.S. corporations.”

“He should be tried for war crimes, not testifying in the US Congress.”

Abrams was appointed to help handle the situation in Venezuela last month after the U.S. government recognized Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president. 

Canada, the Organization of American States, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia all followed suit.

His appointment has drawn sharp criticism for his past involvement in U.S. foreign policy.

He was convicted for withholding information from Congress about the Iran-Contra affair and was later pardoned President George H.W. Bush.

Abrams has also been accused of trying to prop up friendly dictators in El Salvador and Nicaragua during his role in the Reagan administration.

Several member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, including Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Gregory Meeks (N.Y), raised concerns about his past during Wednesday’s hearing.

Abrams responded by saying that he and the Trump administration are focused on promoting human rights and democracy in Venezuela.

Tags Gregory Meeks Ilhan Omar
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